As women age, the health of their eggs declines significantly. However, by freezing younger, healthier eggs, you can increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy later in life.
Deciding when to start a family is a personal and complex decision that involves various factors such as career goals, financial stability, relationship status, and fertility. At Zora Health, we understand that women may choose to freeze their eggs for various reasons.
No matter the reason, our compassionate and knowledgeable team is here to provide support and guidance throughout the egg freezing process. We believe every woman deserves the opportunity to make the best decision for themselves and their future family.
There are various options to preserve your fertility, and we would be delighted to discuss these with you to find the best path forward.
We work with partners that offer special pricing for the following:
Just let us know what you are interested in and we will find you the right provider!
* Pricing is an estimate. It varies by country, clinic, and final treatment plan determined by your fertility specialist. You may let us know if you have a preferred doctor.
*Annual storage cost estimate, varies from clinics, number of eggs and years.
We work with partners that offer special pricing for the following:
Just let us know what you are interested in and we will find you the right provider!
The most comprehensive 24-page guide – step-by-step process to cost breakdowns, risks, effectiveness, key considerations & all you need to know. Save your time & effort.
Before beginning the egg freezing procedure, patients undergo ovarian reserve testing and specialist consultation to determine if egg freezing is a viable option for them. Once they decide to proceed with the process, a timeline for starting the cycle is determined.
Your care team may recommend using birth control pills. These pills can help synchronise follicle growth during ovarian stimulation and offer scheduling flexibility for retrieving eggs.
With birth control pills, you can select a retrieval week and work backwards to choose a start date for the ovarian stimulation. This allows for a smoother and more manageable egg freezing cycle.
Once you start your menstrual cycle or stop taking birth control pills, you will begin daily injections of the hormones follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These are higher doses of natural hormones that replicate what your body produces to mature one egg. The goal is to stimulate the growth and development of multiple eggs to freeze more than what your body would naturally produce.
Before you begin hormonal treatments, your care team will provide detailed medication administration instructions. You must follow these instructions carefully to ensure the medications are administered correctly and at the right time.
During this time, you will need to visit your specialist for regular monitoring appointments, which include blood tests and ultrasounds to ensure your follicles are growing properly and to adjust medication dosage if necessary.
While the medications have no unique side effects because they are natural, your ovaries may become enlarged, leading to abdominal discomfort or bloating. Additionally, the increased estrogen levels may cause heightened PMS symptoms.
At the end of the stimulation period, when your eggs are mature and ready for retrieval, you'll receive a hormone injection to induce ovulation. This injection helps them mature and prepares the body for retrieval.
After 24-48 hours of receiving the final injection, you will return to the clinic to retrieve your eggs. An anesthesiologist administers IV sedation to ensure that you are comfortable. The fertility specialists will then gently and carefully remove them in a procedure that typically lasts 15-60 minutes.
Following the procedure, you can rest comfortably in the recovery room until you are ready to go home. As you will be under anaesthesia, it is recommended that someone is available to bring you home. This is the only day that is recommended to take the day off work.
After the eggs are retrieved, they undergo evaluation by embryologists to determine which ones have matured enough to be frozen. Only the mature eggs are selected and then frozen using a technique called vitrification, which involves ultra-rapid cooling. These frozen eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen for long-term preservation.
Vitrification is a special technique that prevents trauma to the cells during the freezing process. It involves removing water from the eggs or embryos and replacing it with an "antifreeze" solution before rapidly cooling them. By removing the water and freezing it quickly, they are protected from the harmful formation of ice crystals.
After the retrieval process, you will be notified of the number of eggs that have been successfully frozen. Following the retrieval, your period is expected to occur 7-14 days later in most cases.
Let us get to know you better to advise you on the process, costs and regulations. Or any questions that you might have!
We understand how important it is to find a doctor you are comfortable with. Our team will make appropriate specialist and clinic recommendations accordingly. We will also provide you with a list of questions to ask so that you are fully prepared and maximise your consultation.
Your specialist will review your goals, medical history and perform necessary tests. We will schedule a review and discuss your proposed fertility plan.
Our team will be supporting you throughout your journey.
When considering egg freezing, there are several important factors to keep in mind. The timing of the procedure is a crucial consideration since both eggs and sperm decline in quality and quantity as we age. It is generally recommended to freeze your eggs as early as possible to ensure optimal egg quality and quantity. While there is a "magic age" of 35 for eggs, it's still recommended to freeze them earlier if possible.
Cost is another important factor to consider. If cost is not a major concern, then freezing your eggs can be a good form of "insurance" as they are frozen at the age you do it. However, it's important to note that this is not a foolproof method, and there is much debate about its efficacy.
The type of treatment is another consideration to keep in mind. If you are looking for fertility preservation, you can opt for either elective egg freezing (for single women) or embryo freezing (for couples). If you are looking to get pregnant, there are various options such as IVF, IUI, and others.
Legalities are also an important factor to consider. What is the law governing Singapore egg freezing, for example? Additionally, it's important to think about what happens in the future, as some places only allow married couples to use frozen eggs. The age limit for women who want to freeze their eggs may also differ by location.
Finally, logistics must be taken into account. Where do you want to do the procedure? If overseas, would you prefer to do a hybrid process (stimulation in Singapore, retrieval overseas), or spend 2-3 weeks overseas for the entire process? Each option has its own pros and cons that must be weighed carefully.
What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing (also known as oocyte cryopreservation) is a procedure that involves collecting a woman’s eggs from her ovaries and freezing them for use in the future. Egg freezing offers women fertility preservation.
There are a number of reasons why women may choose to freeze their eggs. Often, women want to preserve their fertility so that they can try and have a family when they are ready at a later date. This is known as ‘social’ egg freezing. Women may also choose to freeze their eggs before undergoing medical treatment that may impact their fertility, such as chemotherapy. When a woman is ready to use the frozen eggs, they are defrosted and fertilised, before being transferred to the womb.
What is embryo freezing?
Embryo freezing is a procedure that allows women to store fertilised eggs for later use. They will have been fertilised in a laboratory with either a partner or donor’s sperm. Most often, when people undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), good-quality embryos are left over after embryo transfer. These embryos can be frozen for use in the future, should the treatment not work or should people wish to try for another baby.
Other people may choose to freeze their embryos to preserve fertility, so they can use them to try to get pregnant at a later date. This is known as the ‘freeze all’ or elective frozen embryo transfer (FET) technique. In certain cases, patients with specific health conditions may benefit from having an FET. Sometimes, embryos are frozen to be donated to others, or for future use in medical research.
Main difference between Egg Freezing and Embryo Freezing
The difference can be found in the lab, too. During embryo freezing, the eggs are fertilised using IVF before they’re frozen, and develop, over a period of several days, into embryos, which are then flash-frozen. Once again, the health of the embryos, created from young and healthy eggs, is maintained when they’re frozen at such a low temperature.
When it comes to comparing these two options, egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is often the more practical and flexible choice for many women. Freezing embryos requires fertilisation with sperm before freezing, which may not be useful or feasible for single women or those unsure about their co-parenting plans.
1. CONSENT AND AUTONOMY
A key difference between egg and embryo freezing is the issue of autonomy. Eggs can be frozen without needing to be fertilised first, which allows women to preserve their fertility independently and decide what eventually happens to them. With embryo freezing, the embryos belong to two people. If you freeze embryos with donor sperm, you may not be able to use them if you find a partner later and want to have biological children with them.
Additionally, freezing embryos with your current partner may limit your options down the line and even create legal issues if you disagree on how to use or dispose of them.
With embryo freezing, the embryos belong to two people. This means if you’ve used a partner or private donor’s sperm, they could withdraw consent for the embryos to be used at any time before they are transferred (this does not apply if you’ve used sperm from a donor bank). This means if your circumstances change – a relationship breaks up, for example – you could end up in a situation where you are unable to use the embryos you’ve frozen.
In contrast, freezing eggs offers more reproductive autonomy and the ability to delay co-parenting decisions until you're ready. It's also a simpler path forward in the case of a breakup or divorce, and discarding unfertilised eggs is a more straightforward decision than discarding embryos.
Egg freezing is generally more affordable than embryo freezing since the latter requires IVF before freezing.
3. SUCCESS RATE
Many people also believe a frozen embryo is more likely to become a pregnancy than a frozen egg. But that’s not a true comparison, statistically speaking. Comparing freezing eggs vs. freezing embryos typically requires several eggs to result in one embryo, no matter which method you choose. You can freeze many eggs, which may be fertilised later to create a few embryos, or, you can fertilise them right after retrieval and freeze the few embryos that develop. Either way, you will likely have the same number of potential chances at pregnancy.
There was a time, using older slow-freeze technology, when embryos survived the freezing and thawing process better than eggs because embryos are slightly less delicate. However, the introduction of vitrification (flash freezing) has largely eliminated this difference. With this state-of-the-art technique, the survival rates are very similar: 90%+ of eggs and about 95% of embryos survive.
Overall, egg freezing is a practical and accessible choice that allows more women to preserve their options for the future. Ultimately, it is still your own choice!
The number to freeze varies depending on several factors, including age and ovarian reserve.
On average, it takes two cycles to reach the recommended number of eggs for optimal chances of pregnancy. While not every frozen egg will result in a pregnancy, freezing more increases success rates.
For women aged 37 or younger with good ovarian reserve function, it is typically recommended to freeze between 15 to 20 matured eggs for future use. For women aged over 37 or those with diminished ovarian function, it is recommended to freeze 25 to 30 eggs to provide multiple attempts to conceive. Do note that the age limit for egg freezing may differ in every country.
Your specialist can provide more guidance based on your specific circumstances.
Eggs can be frozen for many years, with some studies suggesting that they can remain viable for up to 10 years or more.
Some patients may experience skin changes due to hormonal shifts caused by fertility medications. Acne breakouts are the most common skin changes; others may experience dryness and flakiness. Although it is unpredictable how one's skin will react during the treatment cycle, there are simple steps you can take to prevent or manage such changes. Choosing a gentle, oil-free facial cleanser and moisturizer suited to your skin type is advisable before embarking on any IVF treatment or egg freezing cycle.
Bloating is a common side effect of treatment, which can affect one's appetite due to the limited abdominal space occupied by the ovaries and bloating. Constipation is also a typical bowel change during fertility treatment and is often associated with elevated progesterone levels, which occur after ovulation, retrieval, and during pregnancy.
Weight gain during treatment is normal due to stress, hormone fluctuations, and bloating. Despite being common, weight gain may still lead to elevated stress, and one should seek ways to manage it.
Headaches can also occur during treatment, especially in patients who frequently experience headaches or migraines. Hormonal changes in the body typically trigger these headaches.
After the egg-freezing cycle ends, menstrual cycles should return to normal, and any soreness from the retrieval should subside within a few days. You may feel some pain upon waking up, such as vaginal soreness or abdominal cramping, similar to period pains. However, such side effects typically last a few days after the procedure. Most women can resume their regular activities, including work, the day after the procedure, although taking a few days off to recuperate is also acceptable.
In rare cases, Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) may occur if the egg freezing medications stimulate the ovaries excessively. This condition results in swollen, enlarged ovaries and fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. While the chances of OHSS or other egg-freezing severe side effects are minimal, medical professionals monitor patients for signs of such complications throughout the process. If any severe side effects are detected, the doctor will take immediate steps to prevent them.
We understand that many women may feel apprehensive upon learning about the need for self-administered injections prior to the egg retrieval procedure. However, it's important to note that discomfort rather than moderate-to-severe pain is commonly reported by women throughout the process. Of course, we need to highlight that every individual's pain tolerance level differs.
Rest assured that your doctor will provide detailed information and guidance regarding what to expect before, during, and after the egg freezing process, addressing any concerns you may have. Their expertise will help ensure your comfort and understanding every step of the way.
When you are ready to embark on your journey toward motherhood after having frozen your eggs, the process is straightforward.
Firstly, consult your fertility specialist who will review your overall health status. They will also consider the quality and age of your frozen eggs, as these factors can influence the chances of a pregnancy. This session will allow you to tailor the process to your specific needs and circumstances.
The next step involves thawing your frozen eggs and their fertilisation through IVF.
Post fertilisation, the embryos are monitored for a few days to evaluate their growth and quality before the most viable embryo is selected for transfer. This is a relatively simple, non-surgical procedure to place to embryo directly into your uterus, in order for it to implant and lead to pregnancy.
After that, you should follow up with your fertility specialist who may conduct tests to confirm the pregnancy.